Over the weekend, we went on a boma stay with several Orkeeswa students. For those of you who don’t know, a boma is a collection of mud huts in which the Maasai people reside. These individual huts are their homes  and normally do not have electricity or running water.

Two boys stayed at a Form II student Simon’s boma. At his boma, there were solar lights and much livestock. In the morning, we woke up and ate bread and drank tea for breakfast. Then we walked to the forest with the livestock, which were herded by Simon’s little siblings. After around two hours of walking up the mountains, we came back for lunch—delicious rice and beans. After resting for an hour, it was back to the mountains. Some of the walking was intense, through burrs and thorns, trudging through intermittent rainfall. A few hours later, it was time for more rice and beans for dinner. After dinner, we had fun playing cards with Simon and his sister and then it was time to brush our teeth and then off to bed in complete darkness. The other two boys stayed with John for the weekend. They experienced much the same as the other two boys, although their arduous trek through the mountains and pouring rain made it all the more rewarding. They were sad to not have the opportunity to post on instagram as they felt the scenery was some of the best they have ever seen.

The girls, on the other hand, experienced days typical to Maasai women. Their day began early, beginning with sweeping and dusting all around the boma. Many of them then headed off to gather firewood or water with their host students. They were also given the challenge of carrying water buckets on their head, a task that they performed with varying degrees of success. Cooking was also on the menu— in a traditional Maasai kitchen, which is separated from the living quarters. They learned the recipes for pilao, rice and beans, and chai. At night, they interacted with the other children in the boma, a highlight of many of their stays. The children loved playing with the toys and bubbles they brought and by the end of the stay, many bonds were formed.

The purpose of the boma stays was to show us first hand the different lives of our peers in Orkeeswa. Although it was certainly a challenge, the boma stays were a highlight of the trip so far. The language barrier made communication quite difficult, but we were able to find many creative methods to get around it. During our reflection session, we went around and discussed the “highs and lows” of our homestays. The numerous “highs” listed were about strengthening and creating bonds while learning about the Maasai culture. The “lows” were minor in comparison and often comical. For example, one “low” included the numerous animals students encountered in and around their boma—one Orkeeswa student had to step on a mouse. All in all, the boma stays were a great way for us to learn about and partially assimilate into the Maasai culture!


By, Rohan and MichaelIMG_0831

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